Royal Borough takes steps to address serious financial challenge as it presents balanced budget for 2024/25

Budget 2024/25

The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead has taken decisive action to present a balanced budget for the next financial year which, despite significant financial challenges, marks a positive step forward. 

The council has published its proposed 2024-25 budget for consideration by Cabinet on Tuesday (20 February). 

Despite the need to make significant savings and increase income, next year’s budget includes substantial increases in spending in order to meet demand, as well as investment in the infrastructure of the borough.

-    Adults social care - £5.3m additional spending to meet the rising costs of care and to ensure that the budget is based on the numbers of adults requiring support. 
-    Additional investment into children’s services of £1.3m to meet rising demand, costs of care and legal fees. 
-    £400,000 additional funding for temporary accommodation to meet rising demand and costs.

£13m of capital investment is proposed in the borough’s critical infrastructure, including to resurface highways and fix potholes, maintaining the borough’s schools, improving energy efficiency and protecting the environment. This also includes investment to improve Windsor Leisure Centre.

Councils across the country are experiencing serious financial challenges and demand is increasing for a range of statutory services including adults and children’s social care. The recent government announcement of additional funding for local government and the £1.2m the council will receive is welcome, but only covers a fraction of what’s required. The Royal Borough has specific circumstances which make our position especially challenging as our Band D council tax charge is the lowest of all comparable local authorities, and we have £322.47 less per head of population than the average to spend.

The council’s financial stability remains precarious, and delivery of the budget is dependent on a challenging programme of service transformation, together with external factors outside the council’s control which means that significant uncertainty remains. 

Despite the challenges, the council remains ambitious for the borough and will be spending nearly £100m next year on delivering essential local services. While balancing the budget has required some tough decisions, we are also proposing investment and increased spending in a number of priority areas, such as new homelessness accommodation. 

The council is determined to avoid increasing the level of debt it currently holds and has refined and re-prioritised next year’s capital investment programme, with the vast majority of new investment funded by external grants or contributions from developers, rather than borrowing.

The public consultation on the council’s draft budget for 2024-25, included proposals to raise council tax by 4.99%, in addition to wider income generation proposals. This level of increase is being proposed by most councils, but our low council tax base means that, even at the maximum increase allowed, in pounds and pence this is still a lower increase than in other areas. Half of respondents to the consultation agreed with proposals to increase council tax, compared to 34% who opposed (based on nearly 400 responses). 

Councillor Lynne Jones, Cabinet Member for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Council, says: “I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to the public consultation on our 2024-25 draft budget. We are legally required to set a balanced budget, but this has been a very challenging process. There are some decisions that, under different circumstances, we would not have considered but unfortunately are necessary to address the ongoing effect of historical financial choices that were taken.

“I am pleased that we have been able to address the inadequate funding of Adults and Childrens Social Care in the previous budget, invest in the critical infrastructure the council needs and implement the Future Shape RBWM transformation programme.”

“As a Cabinet, we are fully committed to taking the actions needed to set the council on a secure financial footing. This is crucial to enable us to make progress on our wider priorities, which will be agreed in our new Council Plan. We are presenting a balanced budget, which is an important step forward. But the financial situation remains serious and will require hard work and continued focus.”

The final decision on the council’s budget for 2024/25 will be taken at a meeting of Full Council on 29 February

The Cabinet report can be found here:

For a summary of the budget consultation, visit: